Welcome to the website of the Astrophysical and Geochemical Laboratory, a group of the Research Center for Astronomy and Earth Science (CSFK). The CSFK of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was established on 1th of January 2012, in order to exploit the resources from the fusion of the largest astronomical and the three largest Earth science institutes in Hungary. Ideal possibility opened for joint research and collaboration in Earth science and astronomy related topics, including the start new research fields. Using this opportunity the Astrophysical and Geochemical Laboratory was established to apply Earth science related laboratory activities in astronomical and astrophysical topics. This field became more important in recent years as the connections used here give possibility to confirm and validate astronomical observations with laboratory data. Our main research topics are the analysis of protoplanetary dust, meteoritics, various fields in planetary science, including Mars research.
Laboratory work in France
Between 14-19 March, 2016 group member Zsuzsanna Kapui visited the Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire in Orleans, France, using the support of COST-STSM-TD1308-32028 project. With Frederic Foucher and Frances Westall discussion on the International Space Analogue Rockstore (ISAR) was made, some measurements were also realized on them and sample acquisition happened for further laboratory analysis in Hungary. The project aims to support the interpretation of the drills of ExoMars rover in order to reconstruct past environmental conditions on Mars.
Martian meteorite analysis in Athens
Between 1-7 of February 2015 Ildiko Gyollai group member visited Dr. Elias Chatzitheodoridis's laboratory at the National Technical University of Athens, under the research project titled “Martian meteorite analysis for astrobiology”, supported by the COST TD1308 action (STSM-TD1308-010215-053644-53644). During the work three Martian meteorites (Nakhla, Governador Valadares, Lafayette) were analyzed by Raman spectroscopy and back-scattered electron microscopy, mainly to search for and analyze secondary minerals formed by Martian water related acitivty. After the visiting research, the samples were acquired and further investigated in Hungary.
Melting inside an ancient planetesimal
Melting produced chondrule disruption was observed inside the NWA 1465 CV3 meteorite, which was produced in the relatively deeper interior of the parent body. In the sample strong mechanical defrmation, two genertion of opaque mineral formation, and results of resorption plus melting were identified. The results fit into the joint CV-CK parent body hypothesis with heterogeneous internal structure at this ancient planetesimal. The results were published in Planetary and Space Science.
Student research work to predict liquid water on Mars
Pál Bernadett undergraduate master student at ELTE astronomy is working on to predict the ideal locations and periods for the emergence of microscopic liquid water on Mars today, to support the research work of ExoMars rover. According to the current phase of the work, nighttime periods might be favourable for the liquid even at low latitude terrains. She presented her results at the International Conference of Physics Students (12-19. Augustus 2015 12-19, Zagreb) where she received the second best poster award of the meeting.
Realization of an international astrobiology conference
Our research group with the help of the COST TD1308 consortium organized an international conference titled Missions to Habitable Worlds between 28-29 October at the central building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Around 100 participants attended the meeting, with 32 lectureres from abroad, including the director fo the ESA Solar System Directorate, the DLR in Berlin, the head of the ExoMars, JUICE, CHEOPS and PLATO missions, together with other representatives of several European research laboratiores, and the NASA SETI institute. The program with presenatations can be downloaded from here with an abstract book of the conference.
Repository Home accreditation
The Meteoritical Society gave an official Repository Home status to our research group and the CSFK home intitution.
Signatures of plastic deformation in a meteorite
Unusual, elogated dark stripes were identified and analyzed by our research group in the NWA 3118 CV3 meteorite. These ripple-like features in the matrix are longer than 0.3 mm and resemble to cerain chondrule rims - although several of them occur without chondrules. If similar features will be identified in other meteorites, revision will be necessary on the origin of certain chondrule rims. The ripple-like features might formed just before the solidification of the meteorite's material and oriented crystal growth could also contributed in their origin. The related paper was published in Planetary and Space Science.
Microscopic chemical processes on Mars
On the surface of the red planet the only possible phase for the occurrence of liquid water is at microscopic scale today. Our group in collaboration with the ESA PECS Co 4000105405 (No. 98076) project's researchers analyzed these locations. Although the chemical conditions in this so called interfacial water differ substantally from that of the bulk volume, using reaction kinetic computations, we predicted the decomposition rate of H2O2 at these locations. Based on the result the decomposition is not ideal today, but could be much better if conditions change little on Mars. The occurence of H2O2 as the strongest oxidant on the surface is of high importance because it influences several chemical processes, and habitbility too. The related paper can be red in Planetary and Space Science.
Infrared microscopic analyis of meteorites
Using the FTIR Vertex 70 and Hyperion 2000 infrared spectroscope and microscope (provided by the Infrastructure Fund of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) new results and related methodological developments were presented by Ildikó Gyollai (Thermal and Shock Metamorphosis in NWA-5011 L6 Chondrite) and Akos Kereszturi (Infrared spectral analysis of chondrule alteration in NWA 2086 CV3 meteorite), furthermore the infrared study of aqueously altered meteorites by Sándor Góbi ("Investigating the hydration of CM2 meteorites by IR spectroscopy") in Sporon 1st of November 2014 at "The Modern Analytical Methods Applied to Earth and Planetary Sciences" international conference.
Microgravity geology - where shall we land on an asteroid?
Exotic processes dominate on the surface of minor bodies with weak gravity. Although this so-called microgravity geology is a poorly explored field yet, it already helps in the planning of landing sites for next asteroid missions. Our group compared the different surface unit types on asteroids in order to identify ideal regions for the planned ESA mission of MarcoPolo-R. The related paper was published in the Planetary and Space Science.
Astromineralogy Workshop III.
Between 29 and 30 of September 2014, a two day long workshop was organized by the CSFK on the connections between astronomy and laboratory work. The program of the meeting can be read here. Altogether 37 participants took part in the meeting, including 4 foreign invited guests. During the workshop emphasis was given to the expected full ESA membership of Hungary, and in connection with this topic Luigi Colangeli, head of ESA Solar System Division gave an overview presentation. The website of the MTA also published a report on the event.
Alteration processes in the CV chondrite parent body based on analysis of NWA 2086 meteorite
During the analyzis of the NWA 2086 CV3 type meteorite, members of our research group identified rims with doublelayered structures were around several chondrules, which, in at least one case, were attributed to an accretionary origin. The rim’s outer parts with a diffuse appearance were formed by in situ chemical alteration. This sepcimen demonstrated both type of processes took part in the rim formation of these primitive meteorites. The related paper appeared in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, providing more insight into the buried source region of these meteorites.
Visit at the meteorite laboratory of Wrocław Univ. of Technology
Akos Kereszturi visited the meteorite laboratory of the Wrocław University of Technology, Faculty of Geoengineering, Mining and Geology; lead by Prof. Tadeusz Przsylibszki, the editor the "The Meteorites", the first open access journal focusing exclusively on meteorites. Consultation on laboratory facilities, especially with the representative of the Shimazu company also happened.
Interstellar dust production simulation continued
Sandor Gobi spent 3 months at the Laboratory Astrophysics and Cluster Physics Group in Jena in the spring of 2014. "He has been working on the formation of interstellar carbonaceous dust simulants by laser ablation of graphite. These have been investigated at very low temperature and pressure in solid argon matrix by IR and UV-VIS spectroscopy.
Presentation of meteorite research activity at CSFK in Poland
Our group gave invited oral presentation at the VIII Meteorite Conference, Wroclaw, 27-29 June 2014 on the analysis of CV-CK chondrites, IR spectroscopy and microscopy, extraction of organic materials from chondrites, and analysis of their hydration. Related to the presentation, ideas for possible joint work emerged with members of the Polish Meterite Society and other local researchers.
Lecture day at the Academy
Our gruop contributed in the 185th General Assembly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the Scentific meeting of the Committee on Astronomy and Space Physics, at the XI. Section of Physical Sciences. We presented two lectures: Wet trendline in the analysis of the Solar System (Akos Kereszturi) and Small Near Earth objects in the age of space based astronomy (Csaba Kiss) on 8th of May 2014.
Laboratory visit at the Space Research Centre in Warsaw
Akos Kereszturi visited the research laboratories at the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. During the laboratory visits successfully compiled satellite equiopments were demonstrated, and also equipment development related projects that are currently going on. Among them the theoretical backround and the working of a BREADBOARD on an electrronically driven penetrator and rock breaker was demonstrated in details.
Succesfull COST proposal
Our research group won an international COST proposal titled Origins and evolution of life on Earth and in the Universe (ORIGINS), TD COST Action TD1308, that aims astrobiology related collaboration in Europe beginning at the spring of 2014. Altogether 20 EU member states and Slovenia take part in the action, Hungary is represented by the MTA Research Center for Astronomy and Earth Sciences.
Succesfull TET proposal
We won an international mobility proposal called TET (FR1_2013_00023) together with France on the exchange and visit of researchers between our institute and the Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble. Under the collaboration meteroite analysis is being realized. During the first visit Prof. Eric Quirico and Alexandre Garenne visited Hungary in December 2013. The work is supported by the Nemzeti Fejlesztési Minisztérium and the Széchenyi Terv.
Interstellar dust simulant production
Melinda Krebsz worked 3 months at the Laboratory Astrophysics and Cluster Physics Group in Jena during the autumn of 2013. The work aimed at the production of interstellar dust simulant in vacuum and its spectral analysis.
ISSI Mars group collaboration
We started scientific collaboration at the International Space Science Institute on the project titled Mapping the northern plains of Mars: origins, evolution and response to climate change with 12 persons from 9 countries. The kick-off meeting was succesfully realized between 4-6 of December 2013 in Bern, Switzerland.
Akos Kereszturi was an invited evaluator at the NASA SSERVI 13 [NNH13ZDA006C] board in Washington, at the Lunar Sceince Institute for funding projects on meteorites and asteroids.
Hydration of meteorites
Sándor Góbi worked 3 months at the IPAG institute of the University of Grenoble during the autumn of 2013 on the analysis of the 3 micrometer IR absorption band visible in charbonaceous chondrite meteorites. The work included the development of new sample preparation method for analysis with KBr pastilles.
Organic material extraction from meteorites
Melinda Krebsz worked 3 months at the IPAG institute of the University of Grenoble during the spring of 2013 on the extraction of organic material from carbonaceous chondrites. The work is going on currently, the first results were presented at the 76th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting in Canada.
Lecture in the Academy
In the "New results of the Hungarian Academy Supported research projects in Earth Science" symposium Ákos Kereszturi gave a lecture at 13th February 2013 on some specific topics of the Laboratory’s activity titled "In the search for water beyond the Earth with Earth science methods".
Collaboration with the Jena Laboratory Astrophysics and Cluster Physics Group
Sándor Góbi and Ákos Kereszturi visited the Laboratory Astrophysics and Cluster Physics Group in Jena on 29th January 2013 to discuss joint research work with Cornelia Jaeger and Gaël Rouillé researchers.
Collaboration with the IPAG Laboraty in Grenoble
Melinda Krebsz, Sándor Góbi and Ákos Kereszturi visited the Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble between 28th and 29th November 2012 and discussed the possibility of joint research with Bernard Schmitt, Eric Quirico és Pierre Beck researchers. As part of the joint activity Melinda Krebsz started research work on meteorites at the IPAG laboratory in February 2013.
Acquisition of a Fourier Transformational Infrared Spectrometer
With the support from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2012, on the development of academic research institutes’ infrastructure, CSFK successfully acquired a Fourier Transformational Infrared Spectrometer, and a Hyperion 2000 microscope. The two equipments are aimed to use for cosmic material analysis.
Organization of the first Mars conference in Eastern Europe
Members of the laboratory organized the international meeting titled "Workshop on Mars – Connecting Planetary Scientists in Europe" between 5th and 7th June 2012 in the main building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academy’s research building at Budaörsi út. Altogether 122 participants were present at the meeting from 18 countries. More details on the conference can be found here.
Organization of the Astromineralogy Workshop II.
The members of the laboratory organized a small workshop on 12th March 2012 at the Astronomical Institute. During the symposium Prof. Thomas Henning (Max Planck director) gave an opening keynote presentation. The program of the meeting can be read here. Altogether 10 hungarian researchers gave oral presentations on their field of research, focusing on the laboratory based material analyzing methods and their space related applications. Altogether 22 participants took part in the meeting, that was terminated by a joint lunch with discussion.
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